In March 2022, the Green Bay Packers traded star wide receiver, Davante Adams, to the Los Vegas Raiders in a blockbuster trade. The Packers received 22North Dakota and 53rd draft picks in the 2022 NFL Draft and the Raiders reunited Derek Carr with their long-lost college wide receiver. Since Adams will no longer wear a Packer uniform, the looming question of the offseason has been “who will take his place?”
Aaron Rodgers’ confidence
Adams left the Packers with big shoes to fill. Expecting someone on Green Bay’s current roster to perform at the same rate he did is outrageous. The good thing for Packers fans is that you have 4-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers behind center. Unfortunately, playing quarterback only gets you so far. The main concern for fans should be “who will Rodgers trust?” He’s a trust-based quarterback, from the offensive line to the wide receiver room.
Which receivers have established trust with Aaron Rodgers? The two players that immediately come to mind are Randall Cobb and Alan Lazard. In 107 career games with Rodgers, Randall Cobb has amassed 462 receptions with 5,526 yards receiving. On the downside, Cobb just turned 32 this August and is a few years past his prime. While he may be past his prime, he is a crucial piece in guiding young wide receivers. Cobb knows Rodgers’ tendencies and mannerisms, which will help the young guys earn Rodgers’ trust faster.
Alan Lazard has spent his Packers career in the shadow of Davante Adams. He has recorded just 108 receptions and 1,428 yards receiving in 41 games with Rodgers under center. That said, in the last 2 games played without Adams, Lazard recorded a combined total of 11 receptions and 182 yards receiving. Those numbers are promising with the vacancy looming. Lazard is only 26 years old entering the 2022 season and is eager to take Adams’ production. Only time will tell if Lazard can handle the workload.
Free agent pickup: Sammy Watkins.
Watkins began his journey with the Packers with a bad reputation for injuries. Watkins was injured early in training camp, which was not a good introduction to the Packers. His injury kept him out of crucial reps with Rodgers. Luckily, his injury didn’t last long. It’s been a long training camp for him, but now Rodgers is recognizing it. After Thursday’s practice, Rodgers said “since the first Saints practice, Sammy has been a different player. He’s been super reliable.” Watkins has the talent to produce for the Packers and seems to be earning Rodgers’ trust. Athletic ability and intelligence have never been Watkins’ problem, it’s injuries. If he can find a way to stay healthy, he will likely have a productive year. We’ll see what fate befalls Watkins after years of bad luck and unreliability.
Rookie standouts for the Packers are 2 North Dakota round pick Christian Watson and 4 North Dakota round draft pick Romeo Doubs. Watson was dealing with a knee injury and did not receive preseason playing time. Christian Watson has outstanding size and speed on his side. At 6’5 and 207 pounds combined with a 4.39 40-yard dash time, he has all the makings of a great wide receiver. With all of his elite traits, injuries have kept him from cashing in on crucial reps with Rodgers. This adds to Watson’s difficulty in gaining Rodgers’ trust compared to his counterparts.
Romeo Doubs impressed many Packers fans this offseason and also received praise from Rodgers himself saying, “Every day…there’s been at least one ‘wow’ type of play for him and that’s a rare thing for a young guy like him.” As a fourth-round pick, he had to work harder to earn his place on Rodgers’ radar. Whether it was making “amazing plays” in practice or winning 50/50 balls in the preseason. Doubs has shown Rodgers and the Packers coaching staff that he deserves to be here. Doubs is on the right track to having a productive season with the Packers. We will soon find out if he has what it takes to turn his off-season success into regular-season production.